Some of us have already voted by absentee ballot and tomorrow, those who haven’t, will have their big chance. This is an off -year election. It’s a relatively small ballot. It’s all about local stuff — your council, your school board, and perhaps some school or city bonds or parcel taxes. It’s the best way to show you are a caring citizen especially if you have done your homework — read the ballot statements, made some effort to see the candidates at a public forum, followed news about them and the parcel tax and bond measures in the local papers.
This is an especially exciting election because we have so many good choices. So many excellent candidates — some of them new faces — have offered to serve. And some of them are relatively young with children in local schools. We need more young people in local government. But it is difficult when one has a challenging job and a young and growing family to make time for public service. As for the incumbents, you should know them. Most likely, they will be re-elected unless they have performed badly on the job or have been too lazy to campaign. Here in San Mateo County, we pride ourselves on outstanding public officials, clean and open government and an interested public. That last part is you. If you fail to take interest or pay attention, the quality of the officials and clean and open government will take a hit.
Congratulations to the county supervisors for approving a set of new maps for district elections (for supervisors) which are not gerrymandered and stick pretty close to existing lines. San Mateo is happy it is not split in two and has not lost its historic center in the North Central neighborhood. Several of the community maps proposed a split. Hillsborough is still with Burlingame which makes sense since they share so many services. What this will mean for the next election for an open seat on the Board of Supervisors remains to be seen.
For the first time, only the registered voters in one district will be voting. That will be when Adrienne Tissier is termed out in 2016. The only people who will be choosing the new supervisor will be voters in Daly City, Colma, Brisbane and a small part of South San Francisco. The most likely candidate at this point is Daly City Vice Mayor David Canepa. While he has not declared, he has been preparing for a possible run. He is active in countywide organizations which will help him as a board member. He is Daly City’s representative on the City/County Association of Governments, the most important body of city councilmembers in the county. Another possible candidate is another Daly City Councilman Mike Guingona. He has served on the council longer than Canepa and once held a seat on the SamTrans board. But he lost his seat, in a surprise move, because of poor attendance. This could hurt him if he decides to make a run. The new maps could favor someone like Guingona because of the sizable Philippine/Asian population in Daly City or Councilman Sal Torres because of the sizable Hispanic population (i.e. if voters choose on the basis of ethnicity). But when it comes down to the people who actually vote, Canepa still has the edge. His family, longtime Daly City residents, have ties to supporters of Tissier and the late supervisor Mike Nevin. However, if Canepa does run and wins, it is most likely he will be the last successful Caucasian to hold the seat.
This afternoon, Mayor Alicia Aguirre of Redwood City will receive a prestigious award from the Mexican government. She is the recipient of the Ohti Award bestowed by the president of Mexico. Aguirre is the first Redwood City mayor of Mexican origin. Nearly one-third of the population of Redwood City hails from Mexico. Aguirre is receiving the award for her many years of civic engagement and for working with and empowering Latino youth. The ceremony will be held at City Hall prior to the regular City Council meeting.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.